Bookshop saved by community set to reopen
An 11-month campaign to safeguard a bookshop for the community will start a new chapter when the store re-opens.
Crediton Community Bookshop, in Devon, has been saved after people bought shares in a not-for-profit society set up to keep the shop open.
Residents and booklovers in Devon will see the fruits of their investment when the store re-opens tomorrow.
In total, 273 people invested almost £40,000 by becoming members and co-owners of the not-for-profit society set up to save the store.
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Contracts were exchanged in September to bring the shop into community-ownership, 11 months after the community share offer launched with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub.
Ken McKechnie, co-chairman of The Crediton Community Bookshop, said: "The bookshop is giving everyday people a chance to make an extraordinary contribution to the local community, and it's still not too late to join.
"We are delighted, we dared to dream that we could save this independent bookshop, and our dream has become a reality.
"Now the hard work really begins, we will create a special section for children and are keen to build relationships with local schools and wider community groups to support literacy projects and encourage the next generation of readers and writers.
"We will also support local authors and, provide a hub for the area's reading and writing groups.
"There are so many people to thank who have helped to make this community bookshop possible, just a few of those people include: Lorna Turner from The Fruit Tree for Business who advised us on behalf of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, Ashfords Solicitors, Stapletons Accountants, Awards For All and, our patrons, Dame Babette Cole, Michael Morpurgo, Mal Peet and William Trevor."
Mr McKechnie saved his top accolade for the store's previous owner.
He said: "However, one person I would especially like to pay tribute to is Jill Holden, the shop's previous owner, who, after announcing plans to retire last year, did all she could to ensure that the bookshop could continue, run by the community that she served for 30 years."
There has been a near 25% increase in UK co-operative enterprises since 2009. Projects have included communities looking to take over pubs, cinemas, art spaces, and community halls.
Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative Group's head of community and co-operative investment, said: "Determined communities such as this demonstrate how co-operation can be key to safeguarding much-loved local assets. Working together, people can become powerful catalysts for change – capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing society, the environment and economy and, bringing about the changes that they want to see in their communities."
Shares in the Crediton Community Bookshop are still available from £20 from www. creditoncommunitybookshop. co.uk.
Community groups interested in co-operative solutions to the running of businesses and services can contact The Co-operative Enterprise Hub by visiting www.co-operative. coop/enterprisehub.